The historical city of Yazd has been added to the coveted list of World Heritage cities endorsed by UNESCO.
Yazd’s old neighborhood was added to the list during UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee's 41st session in Krakow, Poland on Sunday, July 9.
Almost 200 hectares of the city's 2,270-hectare historical texture now boast world heritage status, Iran Students News Agency, ISNA reported, adding “Yazd is now the only UNESCO-listed Iranian city where people still live. It is also believed to be the world's largest inhabited adobe city.”
Previously, Shahr-e Soukhteh an uninhabited historical city in Iran was also registered as an historical world heritage city.
Amir Parizad, chief editor of Iran based Immortal Land website, told Radio Farda that Yazd's registration as world heritage city faced one important hurdle and that was a number of new concrete buildings. The authorities had to intervene to stop the construction of modern concrete structures, especially in the old Zoroastrian neighborhood, according to Parizad.
Yazd's old buildings are all built from mud bricks, which provide natural insulation against cold and hot weather and make the city unique.
According Iran’ s National Radio and TV news agency, IRIB, Yazd Registration Project director, Mojtaba Farahmand said, “Yazd registration as an historical world heritage city was supported by twelve other countries.”
“Registering the site on the coveted list was a tougher task than Iranian officials had hoped. The ancient city's dossier was supposed to be considered for registration last year but was deemed incomplete by UNESCO's assessors who gave Iran a long list of shortcomings that had to be redressed to improve the city's chances of being registered on the coveted list” ISNA noted.
Earlier, Mohammad Hassan Talebian, deputy for cultural heritage at Iran's Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization had raised some concerns over UNESCO’s objections against Yazd’s registration.
Yazd (literally meaning divine, sacred, holy and praiseworthy) is home to UNESCO-listed ancient Persian qanats (ancient system of water supply) as well as Dolat Abad Garden, which is one of nine Iranian gardens inscribed collectively on the World Heritage List as “the Persian Gardens”.
The city, in central Iran, is also known for its Zoroastrian fire temples and tall ventilation structures known as badgirs, or wind-shafts, which function as natural air-conditioner in houses and larger buildings.
Yazd (623km, 387mi southeast of the capital, Tehran) is believed to be the world’s oldest adobe city.
Iran, with 22 world heritage sites, is ranked first in the Middle East and eleventh worldwide.
The 11-day session of the World Heritage Committee in Krakow, Poland, will end on July 12.